MORE than a dozen people found in the back of a lorry off the M4 in Wiltshire last night have been arrested on suspicion of entering the UK illegally.

Police were called at 8.30pm to a report of suspicious activity involving a lorry on the A350, just south off the M4.

Officers attended the scene and 15 people – all believed to be males aged between 16 and 30 – were located in the rear of the vehicle. At this stage, police are not clear on their nationalities.

Colleagues from the ambulance service carried out initial medical checks on all those located - 14 were deemed fit and well and were taken to custody suites in Melksham and Swindon.

One person was taken to the Great Western Hospital in Swindon as a precaution but was later taken to custody.

All 15 men have been arrested on suspicion of entering the UK illegally.

The driver of the vehicle, a man his 50s, from Ireland, was arrested on suspicion of assisting illegal entry into the country. He also remains in custody for further questioning.

Duty superintendent Steve Cox said: “Members of the public would have noticed a large number of emergency services in the vicinity of the A350 last night while we dealt with this incident and the road was closed for approximately four hours while we carried out enquiries at the scene and recovery was arranged for the lorry, which was a hard-sided large goods vehicle.

“We are working closely with partner agencies as we conduct further enquiries – I fully understand that recent tragic events elsewhere in the country will mean there will be increased interest and heightened concern regarding this incident.

“I’d like to thank all emergency services who responded last night – as with all incidents, we didn’t know the scale of what we would potentially be dealing with and all first responders showed true professionalism at the scene.

“I would also like to extend my thanks to the vigilant member of the public who initially reported this incident to us – it is thanks to them that this incident was resolved swiftly and safely with no serious casualties.”

Robert Burton, 31, from Chippenham, was driving down the A350 when he saw the incident unfold.

“Two ambulances passed us. We saw another five or six police cars then another three or four ambulances,” he said.

“We saw immigrants being pulled out of the lorry.

“One man had a jacket with the hood up. There was another man being treated.

“It was shocking. You expect it in the city. You don’t expect it in a small market town.”